Coronavirus

Can US citizens get an EU digital vaccine passport?

US travelers are planning summer trips to Europe, are they eligible to receive an EU digital vaccine passport? Our team took a look at eligibility

Can US citizens get an EU digital vaccine passport?
SOEREN STACHE AFP

Last week two more European countries, France and Spain, opened their borders to fully vaccinated travelers from the United States. As of 14 June, those who have gotten their shots can now travel to five EU Member States.

To better monitor the movements of vaccinated people around Europe, the European Union has developed a vaccine passport mobile application. The EU Digital COVID Certificate is currently being piloted and will become widely available to EU citizens and residents on 1 July. In an interview with CNN, an EU spokesperson said that it is the intention of the Commission for the passport to be available to non-EU citizens and residents, including those from the United States on the same date.

In a press release from 1 June, the European Commission stated that seven EU countries -- Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia, and Poland -- had “decided to connect to the gateway and started issuing first EU certificates, while certain countries have decided to launch the EU Digital COVID Certificate only when all functions are deployed nationwide.” Since the announcement, Spain has connected and almost all other EU member states have the digital infrastructure in place to begin use.

How does it work?

According to the EU Commission, the vaccine passport "contains a QR code with a digital signature" which contains data related to covid-19 testing and vaccination of users. The EU opted to use QR codes to protect against the falsification of health documents. 

For those traveling from "third countries," the passport can be requested by applying "through their destination Member State." 

 What other pieces of information will the certificate contain?

Each certificate will require users to provide basic information including their first and last name, birth date, and the Member State that has issued the certificate.

 Health information

In the US, all residents over the age of twelve are eligible to receive a covid-19 vaccine; this is not the case in many European countries. The certificate information differs based on the vaccination status of users. For those who have received their shot, the vaccine manufacture, date of vaccination, and the number of doses will be documented.

For those who have not yet been vaccianted, Member States require that PCR or antigen test results be provided when traveling between countries. The passport will record the "type of test, date and exact time of test, name of the test centre and the results."

As July approaches, more details for how non-EU citizens and residents can access the certificate are expected. Until then, to ensure travelers on in compliance with regulations at their destination,  tourists should check with the covid-19 travel information provided by the US embassy or health authority for the countries they are hoping to visit.